Public Catalogue Foundation publishes all publicly-owned British paintings

The Public Catalogue Foundation (PCF), together with the BBC, has created a web database of the United Kingdom’s entire collection of oil paintings in public ownership - all 211,861 of them! The works are available on the Your Paintings website.

The publication of the paintings makes "the UK the first country in the world to give such access to its national collection of paintings" from 3,217 venues.

From the website:

Taken together, this collection of 212,000 paintings presents an unparalleled insight into the nation’s culture and history over 600 years both at the national and local level. Much of it constitutes an important pre-photographic record. It also presents an important survey of changing tastes and collecting habits. Approximately a quarter of the paintings are portraits with a preponderance of mayors, admirals, royalty and unknown sitters. Nestling among the tens of thousands of portraits are Eric Cantona and other Manchester United footballers painted in the style of Piero della Francesca and Mantegna; the entire town council of Crewkerne in Somerset painted by a fellow councillor; and Sean Connery painted as a life model in 1952 at the Edinburgh College of Art.